Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Iceland - Day 5

Friday 23rd July

Last night I had decided to try and have an early start and go back to the Laxa River and see the Harlequin ducks. Well, after only being in bed for around 5 hours, I got up at 4am to another sunny morning with the sun already well above the horizon.

It only took around 20 minutes to reach the parking place by the river and in the early morning light it looked rather moody but nice .

Shortly after leaving the car, a solitary Whimbrel stood on a small hillock and although it was totally aware of my presence, it didn't seem too bothered by me being there and just walked away casually.


As soon as I reached the river, I saw a Harlequin' , this one was then followed by several others feeding in the torrents. I could have spent all day just watching these lovely little ducks without even taking a picture, so I decide to look for something a little different. The first picture below is taken using a shutter speed of only 1/4 of a second to try and convey a feeling of movement in the water, the problem then is hoping the bird doesn't move during the exposure. It was a pity that the water wasn't moving a bit faster but sometimes you can't have it all.

Returning back towards the car just before 8am, I stopped by a fast flowing stretch of water to play around with the long lens and slow shutter speeds. A couple of pics are below ............

1/2000 second @f5.6 ISO400

1/8th second @ f45 ISO 100

After returning back to the hotel for breakfast, I headed out again around the shoreline by the hotel. It was now mid morning and was starting to feel rather warm - to be honest it was probably only about 20 degrees, but by Shetland (or Iceland) standards it was ! Again I saw at least a dozen or more Slavonian Grebes but most of them were a little further out today and many of them were just resting on the water. I did manage to get one closer but it was then disturbed by a walker coming past.

I had intended to walk much further around the lake but for some reason a Redshank had decided that it didn't like me being there. Despite walking quite a distance from where it had first started calling, the bird didn't let up, I gave up and walked back towards the hotel. All I can say is that the bird must have had one heck of a territory !

Back nearer the village, I came across a family of fledged Redwings and also a resting Blackheaded Gull that was quite approachable.

Later on in the afternoon, I returned to the Laxa river with Ian as he wanted to get some video of the Harlequin ducks. I also got some more shots of the ducks plus some closeups of a Rednecked Phalarope. It was one of those situations when a good zoom would have been ideal as the birds were more often than not, too close. The camera bag that I used to fly to Iceland with (Lowepro Flipside 300), only takes my 500 + 1.4ex and the 40D with battery pack (plus spare batteries etc) - no room for a spare lens etc but the plus side of this is that it a neat small bag to carry around on a day to day basis when all I need is the kit mentioned above.

Rednecked Phalarope

 Sunset 11.40pm


1 comment:

Dougie Preston said...

Some more stunning photos mate, esp the Harlequin ones. I'll also have to try the water/shutter speed thing too! Keep up the good work.